|Publication number||US8171669 B1|
|Application number||US 12/389,883|
|Publication date||May 8, 2012|
|Priority date||Feb 20, 2009|
|Publication number||12389883, 389883, US 8171669 B1, US 8171669B1, US-B1-8171669, US8171669 B1, US8171669B1|
|Inventors||Hong Ku Park|
|Original Assignee||Hong Ku Park|
|Export Citation||BiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan|
|Patent Citations (19), Non-Patent Citations (3), Referenced by (2), Classifications (4), Legal Events (3)|
|External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet|
The present invention relates generally to an apparatus for rooting plants using an air layering method, and more particularly to an air rooting shell for enclosing a branch and encouraging the growth of new roots.
Air layering is a method of propagating plants in which roots are encouraged to grow on a branch of a plant in order to create a new plant. The method involves cutting an inch or two of the outermost layer of bark from around a branch, putting root grow medium on the cut branch, surrounding the cut portion with a moist rooting or planting medium, and enclosing the branch and planting medium. If the planting medium is kept moist, within from about six weeks to a few months roots should begin to form on the branch. The branch can then be planted to create a new plant.
An apparatus according to an embodiment of the present disclosure comprises a first shell half mateable with a second shell half to form a shell for enclosing around a branch. The shell comprises a reservoir for containing planting medium and an upper lipped opening that receives the branch and collects and funnels water to the reservoir. A bottom opening is provided through which the lower portion of the branch may exit. Side openings on the shell may be used to enclose a branch in a horizontal orientation, while the upper lipped opening remains vertically oriented to receive water.
For purposes of summarizing the invention, certain aspects, advantages, and novel features of the invention have been described herein. It is to be understood that not necessarily all such advantages may be achieved in accordance with any one particular embodiment of the invention. Thus, the invention may be embodied or carried out in a manner that achieves or optimizes one advantage or group of advantages as taught herein without necessarily achieving other advantages as may be taught or suggested herein.
These and other embodiments of the present invention will also become readily apparent to those skilled in the art from the following detailed description of the embodiments having reference to the attached figures, the invention not being limited to any particular embodiment(s) disclosed.
Repeat use of reference characters throughout the present specification and appended drawings is intended to represent the same or analogous features or elements of the invention.
The first shell half 11 and the second shell half 12 may be constructed from thin molded plastic or other suitable materials, such as composite, resin, metal, and the like. In one embodiment, the wall thickness of the first shell half 11 and the second shell half 12 is 1 millimeter. Other wall thicknesses may be used. Further, the material used to construct the first shell half 11 and the second shell half 12 may be transparent, such that the rooting medium (not shown) may be seen through the air rooting shell 10, or may be opaque.
The first shell half 11 comprises a convexly-shaped curved outer shell 16. In this embodiment, the convexly-shaped curved outer shell 16 is shaped generally as a half sphere, though in other embodiments differently shaped outer shells may be used, such as oval, oblong, square, or polygonal. When the first shell half 11 is joined with the second shell half 12, the curved outer shell 16 of the first shell half 11 and the curved outer shell 16 of the second shell half 12 form a generally spherical hollow reservoir (not shown) for containing the branch 14 and the rooting medium (not shown), as further discussed herein. In one embodiment, the diameter of the generally spherical hollow reservoir is generally four (4) inches, though other dimensions are used in other embodiments.
The curved outer shell 16 is integral with and/or joined to corner flanges 17-20. In the illustrated embodiment, the corner flanges 17-20 are flat planar flanges located at the four corners of the first shell half 11. The corner flanges 17-20 are located in the same plane as one another, namely, the x-y plane. The corner flanges 17-20 contact mirror-imaged corner flanges 21-24 on the second shell half 12 as illustrated in
A lip 15 is formed in a top edge 28 of the air rooting shell 10 by curved edges 26 and 27 formed in the first and second hell halves 11 and 12, respectively. The lip 15 directs water into the generally spherical hollow reservoir of the air rooting shell 10. In the illustrated embodiment, the curved edges 26 and 27 are semi-circular in shape, forming a round lip 15 when the first shell half 11 is joined with the second shell half 12. The curved edges 26 and 27 may be differently-shaped in other embodiments. Further, a tapered inner wall 39 formed by the curved edges 26 and 27 is concave and gently tapers to an opening (not shown) in which the branch 14 enters the generally spherical hollow reservoir.
Side edges 29 and 30 are disposed on the right and left sides, respectively, of the first shell half 11. The side edges 29 and 30 are generally straight and are oriented generally in the +/−y direction when the air rooting shell 10 is installed around a branch 14 that is generally oriented in the +y direction, as shown. Each side edge 29 and 30 comprises a side knock-out tab 32 disposed generally mid-way down the side edges 29 and 30, as further discussed with reference to
A bottom side edge 31 is a generally straight edge disposed at the bottom of the first shell half 11. A bottom opening 33 (
In the illustrated embodiment, a pedestal 34 is disposed on the bottom side edge 31. The pedestal 34 is a generally triangular protrusion that may be used to support the shell 10 when the shell 10 is used in a “standing” orientation, i.e., is not attached to the branch 14 that passes through the shell 10, but rather stands on a surface, as further discussed herein. Other embodiments may not include a pedestal 34, or may include a differently sized or shaped pedestal 34.
The corner flanges 17-20 and 21-24 comprise a plurality of grooves 25 for receiving the fasteners 13 that join the first shell half 11 to the second shell half 12. In the illustrated embodiment, the fasteners 13 are elastic (e.g., rubber) bands, though other types of fasteners may be used in other embodiments. The fasteners 13 loop through the grooves 25 and hold the first shell half 11 to the second shell half 12.
In one embodiment, four (4) support holes 36 are disposed in the corner flanges 17-20 as shown. The support holes 36 may be used to attach the air rooting shell 10 (
The first half shell 11 comprises a generally semi-circular opening 33. When the first shell half 11 is mated to the second shell half 12, the semi-circular opening 33 joins with a semi-circular opening (not shown) of shell half 12 to form a generally circular opening (
In the illustrated embodiment, a right side half 73 of the first shell half 11 is symmetrical around a central vertical axis 72 with a left side half 74 of the first shell half 11.
In this embodiment, the first shell half 11 is a mirror image of the second shell half 12, and the two shell halves 11 and 12 are thus symmetrical about a centerline 75 aligned with the rear edge 76 of the first shell half 11.
The neck opening 38 is sufficiently large such that the branch 14 (
In the illustrated embodiment, pedestals 34 are located on a lower surface 46 of each shell half 11 and 12. Each pedestal protrudes from the outer shell 16 and has a generally flat lower surface 48 that is generally parallel to and in the same plane as the bottom side edge 31 (
The pedestals 34 support the air rooting shell 10 when the air rooting shell 10 is set upon a generally flat surface 47. The air rooting shell 10 may thus be used to root a plant cutting (not shown) that is placed within the air rooting shell 10 but that does not pass through the air rooting shell 10. The pedestals 34 stabilize the shell 10 and permit it to maintain a generally vertical orientation, i.e., with the lip 15 facing up.
In other embodiments, the shell halves 11 and 12 may have sufficiently flat lower surfaces 46 such that the air rooting shell 10 may be maintained in a vertical orientation without the need for pedestals 34 or other similar features.
In this embodiment, the side knock-out tabs 32 on the two halves 11 and 12 are semi-circular in shape with an outer groove 45 that permits the side knock-out tabs 32 to be “knocked out.” The outer groove 45 comprises a groove and/or perforations cut into the shell halves 11 and 12. When the side knock-out tabs 32 are removed, a generally circular opening (not shown) is formed in the sides of the air rooting shell 10. The opening is located mid-way down the spherical portion of the air rooting shell 10, i.e., approximately 90 degrees from the lip 15.
A branch 14 (
In this embodiment, the pedestals 34 on the first and second shell halves 11 and 12 are disposed at generally right angles to a seam 49 between the first shell half 11 and the second shell half 12. The pedestals 34 each comprise narrow rectangular-shaped protrusions (when viewed from the bottom, as in
The bottom opening 33 is disposed at the bottom center of the air rooting shell 10 in the illustrated embodiment. The bottom opening 33 is formed by two petals 47 on the first shell half 11 and two petals 50 on the second shell half 12. In this embodiment, the petals 47 and 50 are flexible such that they may flex outward when the air rooting shell 10 is enclosed around a branch 14 (
The petals 47 and 50 comprise tips 52 which may remain in contact with the branch 14 (
Although four (4) petals are shown in
The user may install the fastener 13 a by looping an upper end 64 of the fastener 13 a over a joined corner 63, such that the upper end 64 is received by grooves 25 g and 25 h and the fastener 13 a extends diagonally across the first shell half 11, as illustrated in
The fastener 13 b may be installed similarly to further secure the two shell halves 11 and 12 together. The user may by looping an upper end 66 of the fastener 13 b over the joined corner 60, such that the upper end 66 is received by grooves 25 a and 25 b and the fastener 13 a extends diagonally across the second shell half 12, as illustrated. The user may then loop a lower end 67 of the fastener 13 b over the joined corner 62, such that the lower end 67 is received by grooves 25 e and 25 f.
In the illustrated embodiment, rooting medium 82 surrounds the branch 14. Root grow formula 84 has been placed around the scored portion 83 the branch 14 to promote the growth of roots (not shown) from the branch 14.
A stake 91 supports the shell 10 in this embodiment. A plurality of fasteners 92, common twist ties in this embodiment, are passed through the support holes 36 and fastened to the stake 91. Other types of fasteners and fastening methods may be used to support the shell 10, if support is desired by the user (not shown).
The embodiments described herein contemplate two separate shell halves 11 and 12 that form the air rooting shell 10. However, the shell halves 11 and 12 may be integrally formed as one piece without departing from the scope of the present disclosure. For example, the shell halves 11 and 12 may be molded from one sheet of material (not shown) with a folding hinge (not shown) whereby the shell halves 11 and 12 fold together to join around the branch 14.
As described above and shown in the associated drawings, the present invention comprises an air rooting shell. While particular embodiments of the invention have been described, it will be understood, however, that the invention is not limited thereto, since modifications may be made by those skilled in the art, particularly in light of the foregoing teachings. It is, therefore, contemplated by the appended claims to cover any such modifications that incorporate those features or those improvements that embody the spirit and scope of the present invention.
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|Citing Patent||Filing date||Publication date||Applicant||Title|
|US8752331 *||May 8, 2012||Jun 17, 2014||Hong Ku Park||Air rooting shell|
|US9107353 *||Jun 16, 2014||Aug 18, 2015||Charles Albert Overbey||Snap on cloning mold for air layering of plants|
|Dec 18, 2015||REMI||Maintenance fee reminder mailed|
|May 6, 2016||FPAY||Fee payment|
Year of fee payment: 4
|May 6, 2016||SULP||Surcharge for late payment|